Shopping for a new Honda CR-V?
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PERFORMANCE | 6 out of 10
on the road, the CR-V isn't powerful
dreading speed bumps and freeway speeds more than usual
forget drag racing
Car and Driver
carlike on all surfaces
Honda has stuck with a single powertrain for the CR-V—a 2.4-liter four-cylinder making 166 horsepower, with a five-speed automatic transmission—even though many other models in its class offer an optional V-6.
Apparently, whether or not you find the CR-V’s four-cylinder engine peppy enough depends on what you’re expecting. All of the enthusiast magazines mention that the CR-V is lacking power, while general-interest publications seemed to think it was just fine. Motor Trend warns, "On the road, the CR-V isn't powerful—its 166 hp and 9.2-second 0-to-60-mph time (produced by this front-drive version)—will keep you happily abreast of traffic, but will also probably dissuade you from any particularly daring maneuvers." Edmunds cautions that the engine and transmission “can be overwhelmed by hilly stretches of highway," especially warning, "highway passing can be an adventure." Car and Driver sums it up in three words: "forget drag racing." MotherProof obviously has different expectations and thinks that the Honda CR-V's engine "perky and surprisingly quick." ConsumerGuide thinks that the CR-V’s powertrain is just fine, saying that "acceleration is adequate around town and in highway passing."
There’s no manual transmission offered on the 2010 Honda CR-V; a five-speed automatic does the shifting—quite smoothly in TheCarConnection.com’s experience but with some hesitation on steep grades. Motor Trend likes how the transmission has five speeds rather than four, but observes, "For some reason you can't manually select fourth. But this is probably more a curiosity than a nuisance." Kelley Blue Book reports that the lack of a manual transmission "may be lamented by mileage maximizers, but Honda says that the demand for stick-shift CR-Vs among buyers is low."
An improved all-wheel-drive system is available, and it works with the stability control system to send power to the wheels where it's needed most. Edmunds explains that the system "only apportions power to the rear wheels when front slippage occurs."
Fuel economy is certainly a priority for most shoppers who look at the 2010 CR-V, and in this respect it’s good but not great, at 20 mpg city, 27 highway with front-wheel drive. Some reviewers thought that the small engine should be more frugal. MotherProof in particular was surprised with the figure it saw; , with the driver reporting just a 16-mpg average in “two weeks of mostly suburban driving."
Despite the tall seating position, the CR-V drives pretty much like an economical, comfort-oriented sedan; handling feels stable but not very sporty. Car and Driver likes the "good driving manners," and Cars.com points out it "reacts with an intuitive feel that's rare in non-luxury cars" ConsumerGuide notes that the CR-V feels "carlike on all surfaces," and Edmunds notes that it feels more agile than most compact crossover vehicles, “light on its feet, with well-weighted steering that provides excellent feedback." ConsumerGuide comments that "body lean during fast turns is kept in check." Only Motor Trend has something critical to say about the handling, noting "a tendency to periodically 'tramline' on certain surfaces."
Don’t expect much excitement out of the driving experience; the 2010 Honda CR-V performs quite well—if a bit sluggishly.